johannesburg-based mimo architects introduce the ‘smiling cabin‘ to be located within an imaginary natural landscape under the open sky. deeply influenced by the stifling homebound reality of 2020, the project is defined by escapism, and seeks to serve as a getaway haven, a cozy nest, and a dreamy star-gazing observatory. 

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all images courtesy of mimo architects



settling on a square patch of ground in an imaginary secluded landscape, the cabin by mimo architects wants to sit in a clearing where it can smile up at the sky. the structure is made of concrete, wood and glass – alternatively, these could be stone, wood and straw. with its heavy base sinking into the earth and its charred exterior, the construction blends with the lush forest floor, becoming one with nature. 

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the occupants are imagined to be dreamers who roam out in the breeze by day, sit at the fireside by night and fall asleep under the stars. the ‘smiling cabin’ is the place where they rest their heads, in a meticulously crafted environment that protects them from unwanted elements and conditions. ‘the imagining of smiling cabin alone has fulfilled its purpose for us’ mimo architects share. ‘in some way we are there, arm in arm, looking up through the smiling window, smelling the wood, and we will build it one day, when we have a clearing’

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project info:


name: smiling cabin
architecture office: mimo architects



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edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom